The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday handed over the probe in the recent Coimbatore car-explosion case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The decision came a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin recommended an investigation by the NIA into the October 23 blast near a temple in which Jameesha Mubin, an engineer, was killed.
“The NIA has been handed over the probe in the Coimbatore blast. The agency will register a fresh FIR,” a senior government official said.
An NIA official said the agency has received the requisite orders and has sent a team to Coimbatore to inspect the scene of crime.
One more arrest by T.N. police
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu police, on Thursday, arrested a sixth person, a relative of the suspected mastermind Jameesha Mubin, on various charges including procuring of raw materials used for the explosion.
The accused was identified as Afsar Khan, 28, of Vincent Road.
Sources privy to the investigation said, Khan played a very important role in the entire conspiracy by sourcing raw materials required to make explosives. Khan is accused of having procured some of the raw materials through e-commerce websites.
Following the blast, a search at Mubin’s residence on October 23 had led to unearthing of a large quantity of raw materials such as potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, sulphur and charcoal.
A senior police officer said Khan also helped Mubin to mix some of the raw materials which the latter carried in the exploded car in three small cans along with nails and marbles.
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Two LPG cylinders were also in the car, of which one exploded. On Wednesday, the police searched Khan’s residence and seized a laptop which the cyber cell examined. It is suspected he used the device to order the raw materials online.
Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu reviewed the progress of the investigation in Coimbatore on Thursday evening.
“As part of the NIA taking over the case, officials from the agency and Coimbatore City Police Commissioner had a meeting on Thursday. The Tamil Nadu police will extend all support to NIA for the investigation,” said the DGP who earlier felicitated police personnel involved in the investigation of the case. He said records of the case and other materials will be handed over to the NIA.
Meanwhile, the investigating team sought the help of a sign language interpreter to collect the statement of Mubin’s wife who is hearing and speech impaired, said a senior police officer. Mubin is survived by wife and two children.
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The five other accused in the case, namely Muhammad Thalha, 25, Muhammad Azharudheen, 23, Muhammad Riyas, 27, Firoz Ismail, 27, and Muhammad Nawaz Ismail, 27, in the case are in the custody of the police as the jurisdictional magistrate granted three days for interrogation on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the police conducted searches at 10 locations in Coimbatore based on specific information collected during the interrogation of the accused.